In the middle of Charlotte center city is a real-life secret garden filled with rustic romance, perfect for the outdoor-seeking couple with an urban and whimsical style. McGill Rose Garden’s history makes it just as special as the emphasis it places on guest experience. We chatted with Ashlyn Gibbons and Dan Fulco to learn more about the space in this week’s Know Your Pro interview…
Bustld: What do you think makes your venue unique?
Ashlyn: The history of the space makes it special. It creates a nostalgic family vibe with its train car and the history of what it was before it was a garden. All that adds character to the space. Also, the nature of the garden. It’s an urban garden, not necessarily a French or English styled manicured space. And the location in the city separates it from other outdoor venues. The garden is in the middle of Charlotte and for being in the middle of a city, it’s a large space. And even though it’s a larger space, it’s built for intimate weddings.
Bustld: How would you describe your ideal couple? What style weddings do you see work best in the space?
Ashlyn: Our style is rustic, romantic and whimsical. We work best with a quirky and eclectic style, modern doesn’t necessarily fit the space well. We love when couples focus more on guest experience as a priority than the overall event. When it’s not just about the look. Being a garden, our couples usually love nature and outdoors. And they are typically more go with the flow and laid-back people. Also, they usually appreciate artistic relevance.
Bustld: Why do your clients choose your venue?
Ashlyn: Clients move toward us when they want an outdoor venue that’s not a barn or manor. Also, with our prices and packages and what they are getting, the value is there.
Bustld: What’s your favorite moment on wedding day?
Ashlyn: Right after the couple walks down the aisle and they have that 30 seconds to themselves before they get swept up into pictures. The giddiness on their faces is really cool to see.
Dan: Later in the evening, after dinner, after formalities when we see everyone get lost in the garden. They don’t realize they’re right next to the street and the city. People stand there and think it’s a secret garden. People can get lost and have no perspective of where they are other than a beautiful venue. That’s one of the neat moments of the evening.
Bustld: Tell us about your background.
Dan: Karisa [his wife and co-owner of the space] and I got the go ahead at the garden to do weddings in 2010. We came from a fine dining background and floral background that had a focus in customer service. So, we tried to tie it all together. Not only do we understand the couple needs to be catered to, but we understand the desire for guests to still be talking about this wedding a year from now. Since the space was originally our floral shop for so many years it lent itself very easily to turn the space into a unique wedding venue. We started out doing the occasional wedding; we had no packages at that time, no chairs and was just a ceremony space. We only asked for a donation to the garden. And then, we grew from there.
Bustld: Why weddings?
Dan: It was the commonsense step for us. Having the floral background and doing weddings with the flowers, when the garden asked if it was feasible, it was an easy step to take.
Bustld: Why do you love working at your venue?
Ashlyn: I’ve always loved nature and flowers, so it’s cool to be in that environment every single day and see other people get that same joy, as well. Every time we overhear the conversations and the people who have never been to the garden enjoy themselves and come back later, that makes it all worthwhile. All the hard work and the stress is worth it. When people are happy and find that spot they love in the garden, it’s neat for us to see. We all have our favorite spots but to see other people pick their own is special.
Set up a time to view this secret garden for your wedding by clicking HERE.